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Christopher Hagedorn

Christopher HagedornChristopher is a professional outdoor educator, wilderness guide and leadership expert based out of Woodinville, Washington and Hanksville, Utah.  He has been climbing, exploring and teaching throughout North America for 25 years with extensive time in the North Cascade Mountains, Southern Appalachian Mountains and the red-rock canyons of Southern Utah.

For as long as he can remember, Chris has held an intrinsic passion and admiration for the outdoors.  Growing up in the wilds of Eastern Tennessee with parents that spent every spare moment visiting national parks, exploring nature and wildlands likely had great influence on this.  Adventure and exploration have always been a centerpiece of his being which was revealed most dramatically when he was 12 years old.  It was at this time that Chris decided to pursue his dream of becoming a quintessential explorer and adventurer and work to become a United States Astronaut.  Had he been born a few hundred years earlier, he might have been another Magellan, Drake, Cook, or Shackleton.  Instead, Chris became committed to the dream of becoming an astronaut to walk in the path of Alan Shepherd, John Glenn, Neil Armstrong and a proud list of other great American explorers.  Not only did he want to become a part of this elite group of explorers, consistent with his passionate ambitions he wanted to be the first American to visit Mars and climb to the summit of its highest peak—Olympus Mons.  Olympus Mons is one of the tallest mountains in our solar system.  Its height is over 73,000 feet which is three times the height of Mt. Everest.  A lofty goal?  Indeed!  But this is the kind of passion for exploration and adventure that was rooted in his being. 

To achieve this dream, he set out on a journey of careful planning, preparation and educational pursuits to lay the foundation for success.  The astronaut core was a very elite group and having the “right stuff” to realize this dream is one of enormously small odds.  Following over 30 years of preparation which includes a B.S. Degree in Geological Science from the University of Tennessee, a M.S. in Geological Engineering from the University of Idaho and two rounds of applications to NASA he made the difficult decision to redirect his great passion and energy towards the development of a unique outdoor adventure and leadership education business that became the North American Wilderness Leadership School.  This opportunity has allowed Chris to apply his wealth of knowledge in outdoor education, leadership and guiding towards the enrichment of others that share his lifelong passion for wilderness adventure and exploration.

Christopher considers himself a leader and instructor first—not a guide.  Leadership, safety and quality outdoor instruction are the epitome of his fundamental training philosophy.  It serves as his guiding principle for every outing that he partakes.  He has great pride and admiration for the many students, assistants and friends that he has helped to become better leaders, climbers, and instructors.  The satisfaction in seeing others achieve their dreams while simultaneously learning essential outdoor safety skills provides him great satisfaction as he continues his lifelong adventure journey.

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